Guam is now one out of eight countries and territories with Pacific interests to support the “Pacific Regional Declaration on the Prevention of Marine Litter and Plastic Pollution and Its Impacts.”
Endorsement of the declaration was done by University of Guam President Thomas W. Krise as Guam’s representative in the Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Program.
The declaration will support a resolution on plastic pollution led by the governments of Rwanda and Peru which calls for a globally and legally binding agreement to address the life cycle of plastics.
The resolution will be presented at the Fifth Session of the United Nations Environment Assembly (UNEA), which will be conducted from February 28th to March 2nd, 2022 in Nairobi, Kenya. The UNEA brings together representatives from the 193 member states of the United Nations to accept policies to address the most pressing environmental difficulties.
The declaration stated, “We, representatives of the people of the Pacific region and stewards of the world’s largest ocean are deeply concerned about the impacts of plastics and microplastics pollution on our region and that the current patchwork of international legal instruments is not sufficient to prevent the acceleration of these impacts.”
The document underlines a global disregard for end-of-life management of plastic products, inadequate support for the development of plastic alternatives and continued production of detrimental plastics, particularly single-use plastics.
The endorses are concerned that the yearly production of virgin plastics of 368 million metric tons will double by 2040, with only 9% of all plastics ever produced being recycled.
The declaration stated, “Despite some progress at national and regional levels, the marine litter and plastic pollution crisis requires a dedicated and coordinated global and regional governance response with the support of all states and other institutional global and regional stakeholders.”
Krise stated Guam’s specific difficulties and measures regarding plastic pollution at the 30th Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Program’s Meeting of Officials in September.
Along the coasts of Guam, ocean pollution mainly results from illegal dumping and littering on land. Despite having a landfill and reliable trash pick-up services, the cost of waste management and lack of awareness of the effects of pollution are the main reasons for these harmful activities.
Thomas W. Krise, President, University of Guam
The other endorsers of the declaration include Australia, New Zealand, France, the United Kingdom, Samoa, the Solomon Islands, and Wallis and Futuna.